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WVU alumna establishes endowment to support Davis College students

West Virginia University alumna Jeanne Carter truly embodies what it means to be a Mountaineer.

She’s pioneering, loyal and determined to succeed.

In an effort to help students in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences and the School of Design and Community Development.

Although she didn’t grow up on a family farm, the Green Bank, West Virginia, native has been dedicated to the field of agriculture – and 4-H in particular – since the age of nine.

Carter enrolled at WVU in 1948 with her sights set on a degree in vocational home economics education. As a student, she met her late husband, Harlan, who was pursuing a degree in dairy science.

With support from scholarships and a strong work ethic, she graduated magna cum laude in 1952.

“From my parents, teachers and extension personnel through the years, all of them helped me become the adult I am,” Carter said. “So much was given to me. Knowing how hard my husband and I worked to maintain our scholarships and work to earn our degrees, it seems fitting to me to establish this scholarship for the benefit of others.”

After graduating, Carter spent several years working for WVU Extension Service as the home economics agent for Mason County. She later went on to earn a master’s degree in counseling and guidance from WVU.

As a lifelong West Virginian, she has served the state’s agricultural community as a member of West Virginia Farm Bureau for more than 40 years. Additionally, she and her late husband, Ted, were the first recipients of the Farming Heritage Award presented by Farm Bureau and the State Fair of West Virginia.

She was the first woman to chair the WVU College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Science Advisory Committee, as well as the first woman elected president of the college’s alumni association.

For someone who loves working with people, Carter found all of those roles extremely fulfilling.

“I’ve found they have taught me and given me so much,” she said. “In fact, I’m sure I was given much more than I could ever share.”

Her last long-term career was as a high school counselor. Remembering the interactions with her students was also drove her to establish the scholarship.

“Knowing what my husband and I had done with scholarships, knowing how important an education is, and knowing a lot of kids can’t handle it on their own without help, I thought this was the best way to pay back for what I had received,” she said.

One of her life’s guiding principles is the latter part of the poem “Princes & Kings” by R. Lee Sharpe.

“Each is given a list of rules;
A shapeless mass; a bag of tools.
And each must fashion, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block, or a stepping stone.”

“I’d love to be remembered as a stepping stone,” Carter shared.

Carter’s gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia's University which runs through December.

To learn more about supporting students and/or programs in the WVU Davis College, contact Julie Cryser, assistant dean for advancement, by emailing

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